Goal Setting and Marketing Planning

Need a jump start to your goal setting? Want to be more effective with your marketing plans? Goal setting and marketing planning are part of an organization’s on-going processes. If it is time for a spring refresher, ask yourself these five questions to achieve goal success.

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High Five Yourself to Goal Success

  1. Why is it important to set goals?

In the words of Yogi Berra: “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” Without clear goals in mind, it is difficult to know the plan you should take, what the intermediate plans are, or even if success has been obtained.

  1. Where are you now?

One of the key steps in developing a marketing plan is to determine where you are now:

  • Review the current economic and competitive environment of your industry. Consider completing a SWOT Analysis (identify your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats).
  • Establish your current marketing mix, including your products, service quality, pricing, distribution channels, promotional channels, and communication both online and off-line.
  • Know your market segments, your target market, and how your customers contribute to your bottom line. CRM Tools (Customer Relationship Management) can assist you with this as these systems provide client information and can help identify sales patterns, ROI from marketing efforts, and show relationship patterns between the organization and your customers.
  1. Where do you want to be? And Why?

Set clear goals by using brainstorming. Mind Mapping tools help you organize and map out your thoughts, paths, and plans.

  1. How will you get there?

Once you’ve got your goals in place, you’ll need to establish your action plan, and define strategies, and tactics, budgets, and deadlines.

  1. How will you know you’ve achieved your goals?

When you establish your goal, ensure that they’re SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound). Then, you’re able to determine if, when, and how you’ve achieved your goals.

For more information on developing your goals and marketing plan, take a look at SmallBizTrends for a few quick one-page marketing plan templates on their site.  Other good resources for marketing plan advice are: The Marketing Donut, Marketing Profs, and Entrepreneur.

At Zircon, we focus our goals on our DIY and professional contractor customers by providing superior stud finders, scanners, and detectors and an exceptional user experience. We love to engage with our users and invite you to share your tool experiences with us. Please visit us at zircon.comlike us, or follow us.

Please join us the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month for #diytrends. Engage, learn and share. We would love to hear from you!

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Sharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her impactful marketing strategies and tactics. Sharon image

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Product Innovation: The Customer is Always Right!

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Each year, companies beef up their product lines with new innovations. What drives ingenuity? How do businesses engineer the next big hit, time and again?  Is it simply the passionate pursuit of one creative pioneer or do several experts brainstorm the next wave of technological wonder?  Does the company pour through mountains of research to determine what products will invigorate, revive, or launch the next new brand?  Or do they just use their core competencies to reengineer a prior product line into a sleek, updated version?  The next product launch could be the brainchild of a singular individual or many think tank professionals.

Oftentimes, the most successful companies evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, current product line, and wants and needs of their customers to provide the greatest genesis for new product inventions. Feedback from jobsite professionals, distributors, the retail network, and experts in the field provide vital insight. Each online end user visit, email, phone call, social media interaction or click through the company’s website provide even more key data of how customers relate to the products.  Each real-life application gives a company, such as Zircon, new information of how the products are applied in the construction or home environment, the problems still to be solved, and the new products that would be the most helpful for everyday work or personal use.

The StudSensor™ HD35 stud finder features the latest design innovation by Zircon.

The StudSensor™ HD35 stud finder features the latest design innovation by Zircon.

With idea generation, creativity is key.  What hasn’t already been tried? What has been tried, but may not have worked? Some product ideas do not reach fruition; however, even these ideas can lay the groundwork for a new product that actually will materialize and prove to be successful.  Zircon uses customer preferences, analytics, and design and process evaluations to determine which new tools will solve DIY and professional sensing and scanning problems.

To meet the company’s mission of delivering innovative, easy-to-use technology to the world’s toolboxes, a new product goes through a rigorous evaluation process. How does the product fit within the current product line and how does it expand upon the existing key benefits and features already promoted by Zircon? Of course, the product must be cost effective and provide real value to the end user as well.  To progress from concept to manufacturing, the potential customers must rate the product with high marks.  How will it help the end user?  Will it make his job quicker and simple to perform?  Will the product be more accurate than comparable products in the marketplace?  Is it intuitive and easy to understand?

The company reviews the product to assess its viability in terms of engineering, manufacturing, and budgeting.  At the jobsite, environmental testing is performed to ensure that the product meets stringent everyday use.  Product science and art converge to produce the next big innovation. The crossroads from idea to manufacturing to marketing is not always a clear cut path. What is clear, however, is that the customer is the leader in this product innovation process.

Sharon imageSharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her impactful marketing strategies and tactics. For more info, follow us on Facebook or tweet us @zircontools..

Creating Lasting Marketing Value

Marketing imageMarketers strive for ways to attract and retain loyal customers and one way is to create lasting marketing value.  Companies want passionate brand advocates — you know the type?  They are the dream customers who write engaging reviews, generate exciting word-of-mouth endorsements, and purchase the very latest company brands.  Because a brand impression can last for days, if not months or years, marketing must trod out of the starting gate, bold and efficient, armed with marketing muscle and data.

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I strive to make a strong tie with the customer from the inception.  How best can we expeditiously and effectively communicate with our product users?  Short term, why does the customer pick up the package?  What graphics, tone, and text conveys the brand message?  Long term, how do we cultivate this relationship through email, social media, advertising, promotions, and other tactical elements?  At Zircon, we want to create “stickiness”.  What is the glue that will hold us together with our customers?  We want to captivate their attention for not just mere seconds, but for hours while the tool is in the customer’s hands and have our admirers tells their friends about their positive Zircon experience.

Marketers are constantly testing the results of a campaign.  Leads are quantified from the latest industry tradeshow, media hits are counted, email open rates are examined, sales are tallied, return on investment is calculated and more.  These marketing statistics point to success or areas for improvement.  What sticks out to the customer, retailer, and consumer’s mind about the campaign and will the brand effect have legs to continue onward well past the campaign’s expiration date?  Through the years, the Zircon brand has taken different twists and turns, but all in response to customer needs.  For example, when asked for smaller, more nimble tools, Zircon responded with ergonomically designed stud finders that work well at any angle.

Creating lasting value begins with the customer.  From a strategic and from a tactical viewpoint, when the customer is front and center in the decision making processes, then, we’re heading in the right direction.  Beginning with the key marketing concepts, the customer is the star of the show.  Other companies may go astray and put only the product front and center; unfortunately, disconnected companies blindly float out of focus from the customer’s eye.  My goal is to lead the value discussion, put it on each marketing deliverable, and make it last for years to follow.

As a real life example of how Zircon is passionate about our customers, please take a look at our blog, “The Dog Ate My StudSensor“.

It’s invigorating to think of the customer – we anticipate his needs, we act upon them, we measure our results and we start over again.  With anticipation, each new campaign brings an opportunity to further solidify the customer bond.

Sharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her impactful marketing strategies and tactics. Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. Sharon image

It’s All in the Packaging

Marketing imageThe next time you’re in your home center or local hardware store, go to the nearest aisle and pick up a product that catches your eye. Ask yourself, “Why did I select this particular product? Is it because of the graphics or maybe the shape or type of the packaging?” Then take a closer look at the package as a whole. What message does the packaging convey? Does the packaging complement the product?SS HD25 frnt

Retail packaging is an art and, when skillfully done, serves multiple purposes. In its most practical sense, packaging houses and protects a product. However, with adequate thought and design, it can also be functional.

Packaging materials can range anything from plastic, cardboard, aluminum, or glass and are often combined for improved functionality, reduced costs, theft prevention, durability, and increased store shelf appeal. In the home improvement market, you may notice more rugged, durable materials, such as hard steel cases or clamshell embodied packaging that completely encase the product, are used.

A marketer’s goal is to design an aesthetically appealing, yet informational, package that can entice the shopper to pick out, learn about, then buy, their product at the point of sale. Differentiation is key! In the couple seconds a consumer decides if the product is viable, the packaging must quickly and clearly convey what the product is, how their tool is better, and why the shopper needs it. As packaging real estate is often very limited, style design and determining what product information is most pertinent can be a challenging, if not daunting, task.

At Zircon, we continuously look for ways to effectively and concisely communicate our product’s story via our packaging. Incorporating technological advances such as QR codes, that when scanned with your smartphone, can link to additional product information and videos, take minimal space, and yet allows us to supplement our product’s message so our customers can still make an informed buying decision.

While our packaging has evolved over the years, changing size, shape, color, and words, our overall commitment remains the same – design a package that not only engages the consumer, but provides an unwritten bond between Zircon and our end user as he/she purchased a tool they understood, valued and needed.

To optimize the usefulness of your Zircon tool, make sure to view our blog, “How is Your Battery?” for key insights.

Sharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her impactful marketing strategies and tactics. Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. Sharon image